Nuclear energy will be a great burden on Filipinos, Greenpeace warns
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Greenpeace called on the Department of Energy to stop pursuing nuclear energy in the Philippines, saying that it will only further burden Filipino consumers economically and expose the country and its citizens to more health hazards, contamination and disaster risks, including unsolved problems on nuclear waste disposal.
The warning was made in reaction to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s statement during the recent Joint Congressional Energy Commission hearing, that the Department of Energy (DOE) is exploring the possibility of tapping nuclear energy. Cusi was replying to queries about measures to ensure that the public won’t be burdened by costly electricity bills, especially during the COVID crisis.
“Nuclear energy is the most expensive and most dangerous source of electricity. Contrary to Secretary Cusi’s misguided expectation, nuclear will actually cost us so much, including sourcing fuel, expertise and technologies, all of which will have to be imported overseas, from planning to operations. That’s aside from the huge costs of dealing with the inherent safety risks and disasters associated with nuclear power plants,” said Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Khevin Yu.
Greenpeace says that DOE’s time and taxpayers money would be put to better use harnessing cheaper, safer and more sustainable renewable sources, such as solar and wind, which are abundant in the Philippines. These can also be more quickly deployed, compared to nuclear plants which can take decades to build.
“Secretary Cusi’s irrational fixation on nuclear energy must stop. The risk and costs of environmental destruction and impacts on people’s health and livelihoods outweigh any short term perceived benefits from nuclear. The DOE must instead focus on achieving ambitious RE targets, and aim for 100% RE power generation. We urge the DOE to stop wasting time, money and effort on pursuing nuclear energy, which is a losing proposition for consumers, for our economy and for our health and safety,” Yu said.
“We need to emerge out of this pandemic with a ‘better normal.’ The government must enable a recovery that will transform our economy and society to tackle the climate crisis and promote positive environmental and health outcomes. Doing so will help build resilience against future shocks and ensure a society that puts the well-being of people and nature first.”